Or so it says on the publicity for the sports medicine clinic I visit from time to time.
Personally, I like the inclusiveness of this statement. As someone who is now in the “older” category, who is not naturally physically gifted, and who does enjoy being physically active and has done a variety of sports and activities most of her life, I like to be included, and imagine that many others do as well.
Given the massive amount of data that demonstrates the benefits of physical activity throughout life, it makes enormous sense to have a very inclusive definition here. Want to reduce your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, osteoporosis and dementia? Exercise. Do you want to decrease your risk of falling and be able to live out your life independently, preferably in your own home? Exercise, including balance exercises and weightlifting.
Be physically active: Dance, walk, run, swim, hike, cycle, skate, ski, do yoga, garden, refinish furniture. Physical activity keeps your brain active as well. Not only does the increased circulation keep the brain well oxygenated, the challenge of learning and integrating new skills keeps your mind as well as your body supple.
Yes, many of us, when we think of athletes think of gloriously fit young people doing amazing feats of strength and skill. That is certainly athletic, and I enjoy their extraordinary feats of athleticism, too.
I challenge all of us to begin considering ourselves as athletes. Be active in whatever way you can. Try something new or different. Have fun, experiment, surprise yourself. Challenge yourself to do something that is a little out of your comfort zone, whether by doing a different activity, or doing something that you’re worried you won’t be “good” at. No one starts out an expert, and most “experts” have had more falls and fails than the rest of us.
Be active, be an athlete!